Aphelion Issue 283, Volume 27
May 2023
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On Reading the Dalai Lama speak about two ways to happiness

by Jean Jones

My daughter was interested in the
Dalai Lama so I ordered her a
book to share with herself and her teacher:
In the book, the Dalai Lama writes:
There are two ways to create happiness.
The first is external. By obtaining
better shelter, better clothes, and better
friends we can find a certain measure
of happiness and satisfaction.
The second is through mental
development which yields inner
happiness. However, these two
approaches are not equally
viable. External happiness

cannot last long without its counterpart.
If something is lacking in your
perspective- if something is missing in
your heart- then despite the most
luxurious surroundings you cannot
be happy.
This made me think about
how I felt at the dentist's office
after I brought in my kids for a teeth
cleaning after I had spend the whole day
walking in the sun at UNC-
Wilmington for track and field Special
Olympics in which I felt like I had
suffered from heat exhaustion when it was
over. At the dentist office, the air
conditioning felt so good that I felt
that I could have slept on the floor and felt
completely happy. I could have slept there
all day. As it was, I relaxed, stayed home
and felt glad not to overextend
myself. It's good to stay home and relax.
This made me think: What do I need
to be happy? What do I need in my
life? I've enjoyed food, I've enjoyed sex,
I've enjoyed being outside looking at the
stars, I've enjoyed going out shooting,
I've enjoyed certain books, certain movies,
certain concerts, but I don't know why.
I've just enjoyed them and never wondered

why that was. Am I superficial?
Probably. Most likely, that does not
bother me, and I don't feel guilty
about it. That is just who I am.
I accept it. That is me. I wish I were
someone else, but that is who I am.

I am I. I am myself. If I were
someone else I would say: I Am That I Am.

© 2012 Jean Jones

Jean Jones attended St. Andrews Presbyterian College and received his B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He later went on to receive an M.F.A. degree in creative writing from Bowling Green State University

Find more by Jean Jones in the Author Index.

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